History of Rembrandt Etching Editions
Rembrandt (life time impressions): 1626-1669
De Jonghe 1677 (easily confused with life time impressions)
J.L. Basan 1789
P.F. Basan 1807 All posthumous editions
Alvin Beaumond 1906
Titus (Millenium Edition) 1993
Park West Galleries (cruise ship edition) 2009 – impressions are being pulled today.
The earlier the edition, the more valuable the print. Recent editions have but little value compared to a life time impression. A particular print could be worth $200,000 for an impression pulled by Rembrandt and only a couple hundred dollars for one pulled recently. Other editions fall in between these values.
The astute investor and collector knows which edition they own. These are identified by certain scratches, marks, and wear to a plate. These developed over time. Some of the etching plates were reworked before they were printed again. Particular section reworking, bent edges and strengthening of small lines is used to identify the edition and age of the print. This reworking lessens the value of the etching. Reworking is different from natural wear.
Certain editions like J.L. Basan were noted for their sensitive and artistically inked impressions. Other editions like the Bernard were brutal in their execution . Most were printed with too much pressure, others overly inked and look dark and muddy. Quality of impressions as well as condition also make a big difference in value.
Certain subjects are more desirable than others. Rembrandt self-portraits are everyone’s favorite, while others like “Circumcision in the Stable” are near impossible to sell. Old Testament subjects are better than New Testament ones. Landscapes are preferable to beggars. The erotic prints bring tens of thousands of dollars but are only of interest to a few collectors and museums. They are extremely rare but not easily displayed in the normal home.
There are numerous forgeries and old copies of Rembrandt etchings. There are even forgeries from his lifetime. All of these are starting to sell for big money as authentic early impressions become scarce. There are many dealers who misrepresent these to new collectors. A common scam is for dealers to represent late Beaumond edition prints as rare and early Basan ones. The difference in value is thousands of dollars. Know what you are buying!
There is a formal list of Rembrandt etchings that are considered his finest and are best for investment. They raise in value more than others. Studies show some Rembrandt etchings are bad investments. Just because it is a Rembrandt etching doesn’t mean it will go up in value. All museums and art investment portfolio managers work from this confidential list.
Rembrandt etchings are very confusing. New collectors definitely should have any potential purchases appraised. We are the oldest Rembrandt appraiser in the country. We’ve assisted collectors like yourself for over 46 years. We provide you with formal documentation of the year, edition, state, catalog number and quality of your print. We even advise on investment potential and museum desirability. Without such a formal appraisal, your print could be difficult to sell.
Why not give us a call and we’ll be glad to discuss your prints with you. There is no obligation. Our minimum appraisal fee is $395.00. We are often able to do these from photographs.